Application of GIS and RS for mapping landslides at the watershed level

Jiann Yeou Rau, Kang Tsung Chang, Chi Chung Lau, Liang Chien Chen, Yi Chen Shao, Jin King Liu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


Assessment and inventory of natural hazards such as landslides are essential for effective watershed management and sustainable development. In Taiwan, a typhoon (tropical cyclone) or earthquake event can trigger hundreds to thousands of shallow landslides in mountainous areas with steep slopes and rapid streams. Therefore, how to improve the efficiency and accuracy of landslide mapping by means of GIS (geographic information system) and remote sensing techniques is an important research issue. This study proposes a novel, semiautomatic method for mapping and editing landslides at a watershed level. Data sources include airborne laser scanner (ALS) data and color/near infrared ortho-imagery: the ALS data provide topographic features such as elevation, slope, surface roughness, and object height, and the ortho-imagery furnishes the radiometric characteristic of land cover such as greenness index or NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) for identifying bare grounds. Based on the derived topographic and radiometric parameters, the method first uses a global, automatic algorithm to interpret and delineate landslides. Then it uses a local region growing algorithm and a 3D eraser to edit and compile landslide maps. To explore the causes of mass movement, these landslide maps can also be registered with other geospatial data in a GIS for data visualization and analysis. Experimental results indicate that the method is highly efficient and accurate compared with results of human interpretation from the stereo pairs of aerial photographs. Because Taiwan experiences an average of four or five typhoons every year, this new, semiautomatic method is expected to provide a useful tool for watershed management.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTerrigenous Mass Movements
Subtitle of host publicationDetection, Modelling, Early Warning and Mitigation Using Geoinformation Technology
PublisherSpringer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783642254956
ISBN (Print)3642254942, 9783642254949
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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